Three sea turtles of different species were released Monday morning on Lido Beach “without a hitch,” according to Nadine Slimak, public relations manager at Mote Marine Laboratory. All three turtles had been treated at Mote.
Gwen, a loggerhead sea turtle, was the first to be released. Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch members brought her to Mote Jan. 13 after she stranded in northwest Bradenton. The loggerhead was one of more than 4,500 sea turtles that stranded statewide as the result of record-low water temperatures.
After Gwen was let go, Mote officials released the smaller two turtles at the same time: Anakin, a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, and Dasher, a green sea turtle. Anakin came to Mote in July 2009 after stranding on a sandbar near the south end of Lido Key. The turtle had swallowed a balloon and was anemic and dehydrated.
Dasher came to Mote Dec. 23, 2008, after stranding in Pinellas County. The turtle was covered in barnacles and also had small papillomas, or tumors. Coming from its mouth, Dasher also had small-test monofilament fishing line, which eventually passed through its system.
According to Slimak, Mote’s resources continue to be stretched by the cold-stunned turtles that arrived throughout January and February.
A wine tasting to benefit Mote Marine Dolphin & Whale Hospital and Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital will take place from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 10, at Harry’s Continental Kitchens, 525 St. Judes Drive, Longboat Key. Cost is $10. “Party on the Pass,” another Mote fundraiser, will take place from 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday, April 17, at Mote’s aquarium courtyard, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway.
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